By John-Paul Ngabirano
My heartfelt gratitude goes to God, my formators and fellow novices who accompanied me up to the end from the beginning of the spiritual year. It has been a nice experience with which I feel fulfilled. We started eighteen novices and ended seventeen. There are many factors that inspired us to be committed up to the end. That was observance of our community project that comprised five objectives: to know the will of God in my life, to deepen my relationship with Jesus, to live in a fraternal and intercultural community, to deepen the knowledge and charism of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa and to know who I am.
Community life was not so much spoken of but lived. The concern of the other fetched a kind of bond with cords that cannot be broken. Also, prayer and Jesus were at the centre of our stay, for we had much time of reflection, prayer, meditation, silence and retreats which helped us deepen our relationship with Jesus. In fact, at the end of the spiritual year there is one common word that comes so often on the tongue of each novice. And that is, “Jesus Christ” from whom priestly vocation precedes. We indeed grew and we continuously grow in knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ to him be glory in present and in eternity.
We had many occasions that brought a sense of joy and belonging. In order for us to belong, we took the clothing ceremony seriously “Gandoura day” which is our identity in the Society of the Missionaries of Africa. The knowledge of the society was deepened in looking forward to listening to wisdom of old and keeping the dreams and visions of the young. To have a proper foundation of all that is good in life there is one aspect that brings more sense to my life. A sense of being loved by God. Indeed, God cannot hate His own hand. The Ignatian spirituality led us to be committed, have inner freedom to all created things and to come to the realisation that we are loved sinners who need God’s mercy. And that is what we will share in our apostolic training as we go for our apostolic training, also called ‘stage’, of two years.
Be still and know that I am with you!